Reliable network services are critical for today’s businesses. Companies need secure, always-on network infrastructure to keep people and places connected and to keep business moving forward. Software-Defined Wide Area Networking (SD-WAN) has attracted a lot of attention over the last several years for its ability to provide on-demand bandwidth and consistent network performance across multiple sites. Advantages of SD-WAN include simplified management and improved speed and direct connections to cloud-based applications. Companies can also save money by using lower-cost internet for lower-latency applications, like email, and conserve data networks for bandwidth-hungry applications like unified communications (UC) tools, Amazon AWS, or BI applications. Before making a move to adopt SD-WAN, enterprises need to first look at deployment options, add-on security services, and other complementary services such as cloud-based, centralized SD-WAN management. Let’s take a closer look at primary considerations for deploying SD-WAN:
Deployment strategies-When it comes to SD-WAN deployment options, most agree there are three basic models: do it yourself, using a managed service provider, or a hybrid option where an IT provider controls some aspects of install and management, and the rest is left to the enterprise. IT teams that deploy and manage conventional SD-WAN appliances on their own, generally rely on internet backbone links between virtualized edge components. This deployment model can sometimes be prone to congestion and poor application performance. Those enterprises with a cloud-first model or those that depend heavily on software-as-a-service (SaaS) or infrastructure as-as-a-service (Iaas), may opt for the hybrid model or SD-WAN delivered as-a-service from a telecom or IT service provider. Service providers can offer SLA commitments and better application performance because they virtualize the WAN end-to-end. As companies look to connect remote offices to cloud services efficiently, many experts believe as-a-service SD-WAN options will continue to expand in 2018
New and emerging SD-WAN as-a-service options also offer centralized and cloud-based management of SD-WAN with the ability to identify, prioritize and route network traffic over optimal WAN links. Many believe that advancements in WAN virtualization- including aggregating IP/VPN, firewalls and internet connections into SD-WAN software- will also reduce the need for hardware on-site at branch offices. Greater security services and remote-management options will help streamline WAN management even further.
Security options- As more mobile devices are added to the network and cloud-computing expands, IT teams need to find smarter ways to protect data and systems inside and outside of the network perimeter. Getting there means looking for SD-WAN appliances and providers that bundle SD-WAN products with security solutions. Those that deliver end-to-end network visibility, firewall, IPS, anti-malware, URL filtering and anti-virus software combined with WAN optimization, bandwidth management, and QoS options can be real game changers. As an example, Velocloud has expanded its SD-WAN security partner program to integrate with other security products. Cisco, Silver Peak, and others are also integrating their products with top security vendors and third-party cloud security options.
Single pane of glass for wired and wireless environments- SD-WAN supports multiple connection types, including MPLS, cable, DSL, 4G LTE, Wi-Fi, etc. By offering additional functionality with SD-WAN, such as wireless technology, companies can more easily connect branch offices by managing the movement of traffic remotely from the cloud. Centralized management over wired and wireless WAN gives IT team more control over their network infrastructure with the ability to optimize and direct traffic based on applications and users.
As the SD-WAN market continues to grow, it’s clear that bundled solutions that offer unified management capabilities across physical and virtual worlds are delivering the best results for small and midsize companies with branch offices. Talk to Telapprise today about smart and money saving SD-WAN options that combine SD-WAN, useful add-on services, in addition to world-class support and management of your network services.